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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

President Obama Praises Ebola Vaccine Research, Calls On Congress To Approve Emergency Ebola Funding Before Winter Recess

Associated Press: Obama: Ebola still priority as public focus shifts
“Declaring the ‘fight is nowhere close to being over,’ President Barack Obama on Tuesday heralded strides in the effort to confront Ebola in West Africa and in protecting the U.S. against the spread of the deadly virus. He said squelching the disease remains an urgent priority even if the American public’s attention has shifted elsewhere…” (Kuhnhenn/Anderson, 12/2).

CQ News: Obama Renews Sales Pitch for Extra Ebola Funding
“Following positive news about an Ebola vaccine candidate, President Barack Obama used a visit Tuesday to the National Institutes of Health to renew his call for emergency funding to respond to the disease…” (Ethridge, 12/2).

The Hill: Obama: Ebola funding a ‘good Christmas present’
“President Obama called on Congress to approve roughly $6 billion in emergency funding for the Ebola response before lawmakers depart for the Christmas holiday…” (Viebeck, 12/2).

New York Times: At NIH, Obama Stresses Need to Keep Funding Fight Against Ebola
“…Lawmakers from both parties have supported financing to upgrade treatment centers in the United States and in West Africa, where the outbreak spread through Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. But with the House and Senate still not able to agree on how to fund the federal government past December, some experts worry that lawmakers could try to cut back the money…” (Landler, 12/2).

Reuters: Obama urges Congress to approve $6 billion for Ebola fight
“…[Obama] said the United States needs to continue to fund basic research and help nations such as Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone build better public health systems so that the world can quickly contain future disease outbreaks…” (Becker et al., 12/2).

U.S. News: Obama Praises Ebola Vaccine Testing, Calls for More Funding
“…Though no person in the U.S. is currently diagnosed with Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is actively monitoring 1,400 people in 44 different states who were in countries that are affected most by the virus…” (Leonard, 12/2).

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3 West African Nations Worst Hit By Ebola Could Experience Total Economic Loss Of $2B Through 2015, World Bank Estimates

Reuters: Ebola costs Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone $2 billion: World Bank
“The World Bank on Tuesday pledged further assistance to Liberia, the country worst hit by Ebola, and revealed that the epidemic would cost more than $2 billion across the region, causing once-booming economies to slow down or shrink…” (Cooney/Toweh, 12/2).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: World Bank reports economic impact in worst-hit countries to exceed $500 million in 2014
“The World Bank announced [Tuesday] that economic growth estimates in the three countries most affected by the Ebola crisis have been revised sharply downward with the impact totaling well over half a billion dollars in 2014, as the United Nations health agency officially declared the outbreak in Spain over…” (12/2).

World Bank: Ebola: New World Bank Group Report Shows Growth Shrinking, Economic Impact Worsening in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
“The Ebola epidemic continues to cripple the economies of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and is projected to result in negative or contracting growth in these countries next year as they work to eradicate the virus, according to an Ebola Economic Impact Update released today by the World Bank Group…” (12/2).

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MSF Says International Ebola Response Needs Additional Coordination, Funding, Staff

News outlets report on a briefing paper released by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) criticizing the response to Ebola in West Africa.

The Guardian: World’s Ebola response slow, patchy and inadequate, Médecins Sans Frontières says
“The medical NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has launched a scathing attack on the international community for its slow and patchy response to the effort to stamp out Ebola in West Africa…” (O’Carroll, 12/2).

The Hill: Doctors Without Borders slams global response to Ebola
“…[MSF] released a report Tuesday warning that a shortage of staff, funding, and leadership is leading to ‘significant delays’ in curbing the epidemic…” (Ferris, 12/2).

New York Times: New Concerns Over Response to Ebola Crisis
“…The tone of the warning, by Dr. Joanne Liu, the group’s international president, was pessimistic compared with an appraisal made on Monday by the World Health Organization, which said significant progress had been made in reversing the upward trajectory of the disease…” (Gladstone, 12/2).

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Ebola Damaging Health Service Delivery In West Africa, WHO Official Says

VOA News: General Health Systems Damaged by Ebola in West Africa
“The World Health Organization reports the spread of Ebola is having a damaging impact on the delivery of health services for people suffering from other illnesses in the three severely affected Ebola countries in West Africa. … Ebola has killed about 6,000 people. But WHO Coordinator of Health Systems, Dr. Gerard Schmets said the deaths of many more people suffering from malaria, chronic diseases, and other illnesses probably can be linked to Ebola…” (Schlein, 12/2).

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Statistician Hans Rosling Working With Liberian, U.S. Officials To Gather Ebola Data

ScienceInsider: Star statistician Hans Rosling takes on Ebola
“Hans Rosling is a global health celebrity, a former head of the Division of Global Health at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm whose riveting lectures have made him a star of TED talks, and a fixture of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. But since 20 October, he has occupied room 319 of Liberia’s Ministry of Health & Social Welfare, a large yellow building not far from the Atlantic Ocean. Working alongside the country’s head of Ebola surveillance, Luke Bawo, he is helping the ministry make sense of the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded…” (Kupferschmidt, 12/2).

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WHO Releases New Guidance On Cervical Cancer Prevention, Control

Agence France-Presse: WHO makes cervical cancer protection easier, cheaper
“The World Health Organization introduced new cervical cancer guidelines Wednesday, making it easier and cheaper to protect women against one of the deadliest, but most preventable, diseases…” (12/3).

VOA News: WHO Stresses Value of Vaccine in Preventing Cervical Cancer
“…The World Health Organization said girls in more than 55 countries are protected by routine administration of HPV vaccine, and a growing number of countries are providing vaccine with support from the GAVI Alliance, a public-private global health partnership. More methods are now available to screen women to identify pre-cancerous lesions. According to new guidelines, a woman whose screening proves negative needs only to be rescreened within 10 years, which represents a major cost savings for health systems…” (Schlein, 12/2).

WHO: New WHO guide to prevent and control cervical cancer
“New guidance from WHO aims to help countries better prevent and control cervical cancer. The disease is one of the world’s deadliest — but most easily preventable — forms of cancer for women, responsible for more than 270 000 deaths annually, 85 percent of which occur in developing countries…” (12/3).

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CDC Releases Recommendations Supporting Medical Male Circumcision, Saying Procedure Helps Decrease Risk Of HIV, Other STIs

Reuters: Male circumcision benefits outweigh risks, U.S. CDC says
“The benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks, according a long-awaited draft of federal guidelines from U.S. health officials released on Tuesday, which indicate that scientific evidence supports recommending the procedure. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that medically performed male circumcision could help decrease the risk of contracting HIV and several other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as other health problems…” (Berkrot, 12/2).

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Devex Interviews Incoming Head Of USAID's Global Development Lab

Devex: Ann Mei Chang’s vision for USAID’s Global Development Lab
“…Devex spoke with [Anne Mei] Chang in Washington, D.C., to learn more about the vision she is bringing to a USAID initiative that is supposed to produce ‘transformative development solutions,’ but within the confines of a government bureaucracy that is not always considered the most innovative or risk-tolerant…” (Igoe, 12/2).

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French Polynesia Reports 18K Chikungunya Cases; Disease Threatens Other South Pacific Nations, Officials Report

Reuters: Mosquito-borne chikungunya now spreading rapidly through South Pacific
“Chikungunya, a debilitating mosquito-borne viral disease, has taken hold in French Polynesia, spreading rapidly and threatening neighboring Pacific nations, regional health authorities said on Wednesday. … French Polynesia, with a population of more than 268,000, said four people had died and more than 18,000 people had sought treatment for the disease since October, the first outbreak in the archipelago...” (Lefort, 12/2).

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HIV 3rd Leading Cause Of Death In South Africa Overall, 2nd Among Young People, 2013 Data Show

Reuters: HIV second highest killer of South African youth: stats office
“HIV was the third leading cause of natural deaths in South Africa in 2013, up three places from the previous year, and the second highest killer of young people, a survey by the national statistics agency showed on Tuesday…” (Toyana, 12/2).

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MSF Testing Drones To Transport TB Lab Samples From Remote Areas Of Papua New Guinea

VICE News: Drones Are Being Tested in the Fight Against a Tuberculosis Epidemic in Papua New Guinea
“Drones have been trialed by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to combat a centuries-old disease that has crippled communities in one of the most untamed wildernesses on earth. … MSF this year began to help local authorities tackle TB in [Papua New Guinea’s] Western Province. According to a Papua New Guinea government mission to the region, the region has one of the worst TB rates anywhere in the world, but it’s the landscape that throws up even bigger challenges…” (Mitchell, 12/3).

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Veterinarians Play Important Role In Recognizing Zoonosis Threats To Humans

The Atlantic: How Veterinarians Prevent Animals From Spreading Diseases to Humans
“…Seventy-five percent of newly emerging diseases are zoonotic, meaning they can be spread between animals and humans. And they wreak havoc: People fall ill having no natural defenses, and there is often no medicine to fill the gap. … Every year, there are 2.5 billion cases of zoonotic illnesses in humans, resulting in 2.7 million deaths. This concept — connecting human medical and veterinary science — is called One Health. And in this framework veterinarians are the sentinels, monitoring the animal kingdom for potential threats to humans…” (Resnick, 11/29).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials Urge Global Community To Fund Food Aid For Syrian Refugees

The Guardian: The Guardian view on the Syrian crisis: if we can’t tackle the cause, at least we should deal with symptoms
Editorial Board

“…In a decision intended to ring alarm bells, the United Nations’ World Food Programme has announced that it is suspending food aid in the region because of a lack of funding. The WFP needs around $60m to provide critical food vouchers to over 1.7 million Syrian refugees through the month of December. … No one wants, or seems able, to deal with the root of the Syrian problem — the Assad regime — but now we are not even dealing with the symptoms. Food aid is essential. Governments of the richest nations, starting perhaps with those in the Gulf, must give the U.N. the money it needs to feed Syrians going hungry. The very stability of the countries sheltering those refugees may be at stake” (12/2).

New York Times: World Food Programme’s Struggle to Feed Millions
Editorial Board

“If the term ‘international community’ is to have any meaning, it should denote the shared responsibility of all nations to assist people forced to flee their countries and lose their livelihood through no fault of their own. … On Monday, after months of warnings that it’s running out of money, the WFP announced that it had been forced to suspend the critical [food voucher] program [for Syrian refugees]. … It is imperative that the richer members of the international community recognize the rapidly growing need and respond promptly and generously. Many organizations have cut back on programs or have threatened to, but WFP is the first agency that has actually been forced to suspend a vital program, and the thing about food, as one WFP official said, ‘is, you can’t not have it'” (12/2).

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Congress Must Reevaluate HIV/AIDS Policy Approaches To Achieve AIDS-Free Generation

The Hill: New Congress must consider new policy approaches for world AIDS fight
Jim Patterson, former diplomat

“With Ebola in the United States, World AIDS Day 2014, December 1, is a stark reminder of the continued U.S. and global challenge AIDS represents. The new Congress should also consider the critical funding needs of working to end the disease globally. … [T]he world now looks to the U.S. for leadership in fighting the advance of the disease, now considered a chronic illness in the U.S. due to a new generation of drugs. Responsive and informed economic, health, and political policies will determine whether the U.S. will be the global leader in ending the world health crisis AIDS continues to be. … The fight against AIDS is winnable. An AIDS-free generation is achievable sooner than most think possible. To get there will require new policy approaches by a new Congress in the New Year” (12/2).

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Global Health Service Partnership Expansion Will Help Reach AIDS-Free Generation Goal

Huffington Post: A Partnership for the Future of Global Health
Carrie Hessler-Radelet, director of the Peace Corps

“…In a unique public-private partnership, the Peace Corps, Seed Global Health, and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) worked together to launch the Global Heath Service Partnership, (GHSP) where experienced American doctors and nurses volunteer, through the Peace Corps Response program, to train health care workers in countries with critical shortages. … We are thrilled that at the White House’s World AIDS Day event, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the expansion of the GHSP, with additional resources and a new commitment to improve clinical education, expand the base of physician and nursing educators and build health care capacity in countries that face critical shortages. … This expansion of the Global Health Service Partnership will make a long-term difference as we strive to reach our goal of an AIDS-free generation” (12/2).

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Small Donations To Vaccine Programs Can Make Big Differences In Lives Of Children, Families

CNN: Giving Tuesday: The new Black Friday?
Melinda Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…Just as there’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday for finding great shopping deals, there’s now #GivingTuesday for anyone who is feeling grateful this time of year and wants to share a bit of their good fortune with those in need. One of the best ways we’ve found to do that is to contribute to the U.N. Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign. For just a few dollars, you can provide life-saving vaccines to children in the poorest countries. … Bill and I believe that vaccines are one of the real miracles of modern medicine. Over the last 50 years, they have saved more lives than any other medical innovation. … No matter how much you decide to donate, giving a child a shot at a healthy life is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give this holiday season…” (12/2).

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Passage Of Nigeria's National Health Bill Could Transform Country's Health Care System

Project Syndicate: Nigeria Beyond Ebola
Akwe Amosu, regional director for Africa at the Open Society Foundations, and Muhammed Mustapha Lecky, executive secretary at the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) and coordinator of the Nigerian Health Sector Reform Coalition

“When the World Health Organization declared that Nigeria had successfully eradicated the Ebola virus within its borders, there was loud global applause. Amid the cheers, however, few noticed a potentially even greater health milestone for Africa’s most populous country: the enactment of a new National Health Bill, which now awaits President Goodluck Jonathan’s signature. If the bill is signed into law, it could transform Nigeria’s health care system, providing a model for other West African countries seeking to learn the lessons of the Ebola epidemic and provide health care to all of their citizens. … The deadline to sign the bill is fast approaching. Jonathan has an enormous opportunity to show that Nigeria will go beyond its battle against Ebola and transform health care for the entire country…” (12/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Opens Second Ebola Treatment Unit In Liberia

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: U.S. Opens New Ebola Clinic in Liberia
Carol Han, press officer for USAID’s Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team, writes, “…[A] second [Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU)] supported by the United States is operational in the city of Kakata, about 45 miles northeast of Monrovia. Built by the organization Save the Children with support from USAID, the ETU is being run by International Medical Corps (IMC), which is also managing another ETU in Bong County, Liberia…” (12/2).

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All NTDs Need Vaccines, Treatments

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: Neglected Tropical Diseases that Kill
Peter Hotez, co-editor in chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and Jennifer Herricks, a postdoctoral fellow at the National School of Tropical Medicine, write “that while we urgently need new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines for Ebola virus infection, the same could be said for [the 10] NTDs listed in Table 1. As the global policy leaders in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere meet in the coming weeks and months, we hope they will consider new Ebola virus technologies in the context of each of our planet’s killer NTDs” (12/2).

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Ugandan Nurse Accused Of Attempting To Infect Child With HIV Freed By Appeals Court Ruling

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Rosemary Namubiru is free: A case of reckless, negligent reporting continues
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, reports on the outcome of an appeal by Ugandan nurse Rosemary Namubiru, who was sentenced to three years in prison for a workplace accident that accusers said was an attempt to infect a child with HIV by using a contaminated needle. The appeals court shortened her sentence and released her from prison (12/2).

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